7 Ways to Prevent Altitude Sickness (Or Make Much Less Severe)

prevent altitude sickness

Are you planning on an adventure to a high altitude location? Have you experienced altitude sickness before? If you have, these 7 tips will help you get through what could be a miserable experience and prevent altitude sickness. If you’ve never had altitude sickness, this is information that help you be highly prepared.

Some people aren't affected by altitude sickness, but many others find themselves with headaches, nausea, vomiting and more. If you're traveling or hiking in high altitudes — especially above 5,000 to 8,000 feet — it's important to know how to prevent altitude sickness. Being based out of Colorado, we have a lot of experience with this!

7 ways to prevent altitude sickness

7 ways to prevent altitude sickness

1. Drink plenty of fluids

Hydrate! Drink as much water as possible before going to high altitude and during your trip. Your body needs water in order to regulate your internal temperature. As you gain elevation, the oxygen content in the air decreases, and your body needs more water to regulate itself.

Exposure to high altitudes can also cause dehydration. It is a good idea to sip water frequently during the day. Hydration one of key components to helping prevent altitude sickness.

2. Until you acclimate, don't go above 5,000 feet

To get acclimated to altitude, spend a few days at an altitude of about 5,000 feet before going higher. If possible, go in stages — for example, spend three days at an elevation of 5,000 feet and then move to 8,000 feet for two days before going even higher.

While altitude sickness is most common in people who go above 8,000 feet, it can occur at much lower altitudes if the change is dramatic — for example, when you go from sea level to the mountains over a short span of time.

3. Stay well rested  

When traveling at higher altitudes, it's important to get plenty of sleep in order for your body to acclimate properly. Think about taking naps during the day if you feel like it and try not to stay awake too long at night because this can upset the body's natural circadian rhythm and make sleeping difficult. Resting will also help you adjust more easily to the altitude — and recover more quickly when you return home.

4. Load up on glutathione

When you don't have enough of this antioxidant, you may develop altitude sickness when you ascend to heights above 5,000 meters. Glutathione appears to quickly deplete at higher altitudes. Which then makes the body susceptible to the many forms of free radical damage. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, also called the body's master antioxidant, that helps protect your body and reverse the damage done by free radicals.

The good news is that you can supplement glutathione, so your next trip or climb can be a little less rough.

5. Breathe deeply

It might take some time before your body gets used to having less oxygen in the air at high elevations. To speed up this adjustment process, breathe deeply and exhale slowly several times throughout the day, or while going for a hike or skiing. This way, you'll take in more oxygen than usual and deplete the carbon dioxide in your bloodstream faster.

6. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco early on

Alcohol and tobacco can dehydrate you, which increases the risk of altitude sickness. Any substance that cause dehydration should be avoided while at high altitudes as they exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness. Caffeine can also increase your need for water, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. 

7. Add Glutamine

This amino acid is used by the body to repair tissues. It has also been shown to help reduce the severity and duration of acute mountain sickness. Glutamine is recommended every day for a few days before traveling and while at high altitudes.

Altitude sickness is painful, but it doesn’t have to be. You can take steps ahead of time to make your next trip a more enjoyable one, so that you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way.

Are you looking for an easy-to-use altitude supplement? Try our sugar-free Hydration Chewables that contain glutathione and glutamine!